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I walked to the old house, 187 Gerrard Street, which was a temple at one time. Forty of us lived there in that three-storey building with a basement; the first place I lived in the city. I came here specifically to get my monastic training.  We were a vibrant bunch of Hare Krishnas, getting up at 3:30 a.m. to chant, study, do community service, eat, sleep, and teach. Memories!
 
On Jarvis Street, I came upon the mansion the two Massey brothers lived in—Vincent who became a Governor General, and
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To Go Inside by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It is on 20:2020. And it is not an ordinary day.
 
I announced to our small crew of monks that as of tomorrow, there will be a shutdown of the temple, due to the coronavirus. “Oh yes, the duty service will go on, the cooking and business as usual, but we will not be able to welcome people, even the regular pujari’s (priests).
 
These words did not meet ears with surprise. Our resident monks saw something like this coming, what with all that’s around us shutting down. “The Ford auto plant in Oak
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In the Annex by Bhaktimarga Swami

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 In the Annex I’m walking
Moving and not docking
Row upon row a Victorian home
With cars lined just like a comb.
 
As I stroll here Bro
I see the status is “pro“
Got it made for sure
They are far from poor.

Wish I could meet them
The ladies, the gentlemen
They are very much nestled
With maya they’ve wrestled.
 
Want to give a higher taste
Joy is truly above the waist
Or do they care to dance?
In a different circumstance.
 
The dancing avatar has come
Bengal is where He’s from
Telling us we’re
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One of the most benevolent of functions is to plan and organize a kirtan, especially in tough times.  Kirtan is, in many ways, another word for ‘healing’, a nourishment for the soul.
 
Billy and I were talking. Billy is the kirtan enthusiast who runs the ‘Temple Groove’ every alternate Sunday morning. Since indoor social closeness is currently discouraged in favour of social distancing, I suggested to Billy, “Why not bring your Temple Groove group to a park for kirtan for healing purposes. Ever
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I Love St by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It was nippy but nice.  The sun was strong and people were cheery going down, or up, Yonge Street.  I took to the west side of the street, going north, because that's where the sun was angled.  I was doing my usual routine with Bhativinode from Scarborough.  He would pick me up as soon as he spotted me in my standout saffron.  Off we went to the ISKCON Centre for one of those rituals, a devotional spectacle called abhishek, a bathing of deities using pure substances, including honey, which are
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How We React by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I was enjoying the food (prasadam) in Govinda's Restaurant, and at a time when there were several other people also pleasing their palates and soul.  I was just coming to a closure of my meal.  Everyone was quite meditative, reflective and quiet, and then I let out a cough.  It was sudden, as coughs usually are, but I quickly responded and defended myself saying audibly, "I don't have it" (referring to the coronavirus).  The room erupted into laughter, knowing exactly where my remark came from.
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Stretch and Walk by Bhaktimarga Swami

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One way to address the dreaded coronavirus is to build up your strength and resistance.  I hear that many of the victims of the disease are travel related.  I believe that if you put your “pedal to the metal” through walking in some good air, you are being very proactive.  Frankly, I do not hear much about boosting the health in these diseased times.  The virus might be contracted more indoors.  Maybe we are not spending enough time in nature’s security—the out-of-doors.

I actually started my
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Brahmana’s Tales by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It was a blessed day in a simple kind of way.  By morning, we opened up a new chapter from the book Bhagavatam, Canto 10, on how Krishna gave special mercy to His old classmate, Sudhama the brahman.  It just has to be one of the best stories ever.  In short, Sudhama, the poor brahman, came to see Krishna in His palatial home with the hope of asking for some improvement in the living condition of he and his wife.  But Sudhama was just too embarrassed to ask when he saw the opulence that Krishna
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When I visited the Yukon, not so terribly long ago, I received a small gift—a key chain.  Attached to this key chain is that iconic image of backpacking prospectors, struggling up a steep snowbank by way of a rope.  This represents the famous Yukon Gold Rush that took place at the turn of the 20th century.
 
I'm intrigued with that historical time, not with the lusting for gold, but for the fact that folks were adventurous and willing to take risks starting a new life in the great north.  For m
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Panic Mode by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I noticed something peculiar about some of the shoppers as I walked with Corrado to our favourite chanting park, Bellevue Square.  I spotted several people carrying toilet paper.  I believe that some folks are caught up in what some call "panic buying".  What ignited this recent practice is the awareness of the coronavirus.  People are acting in a panic mode.

Of course, it is important and intelligent to take precautions.  I just wish that the panic button on birth, death, old age and disease
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Sunday is that day of the week for spending hours with community.  It started off for me at the ISKCON Brampton Centre with everyone singing in unison, and also as far as possible, physically moving together, as in dance.

I spoke from Chapter 2.46 of the Gita where there is mention of Sri Chaitanya (in the purport) displaying ecstasies.  The greatest contribution of this great monk, who walked plenty, was leaving Himself in the form of kirtan—the sacred name.  It is the practice of sharing sac
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I was happy to be part of the wedding reception for Damodhara, Gujarati born practitioner of bhakti yoga.  He resides in Sudbury, the place where I lived when I met Krishna monks who changed my life.  I spoke a few words to the crowd, addressing my joy at his partnership, before the toast and the cake cutting.

I really support marriage and the prospect for a one-shot deal.  I expressed my wish they'll have twelve kids.  People roared laughing.

The reception was held right in Govinda's Dinning
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About Others by Bhaktimarga Swami

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When I was in Mayapura, India, I saw a piece of myself on someone's table.  I'll clarify.  An artist had a booth where he was displaying his wares—copies of painted portraits of bhakti-yogis  Well, I was in that pile of twenty or so.  I picked one up off of his display table, to have a look.
 
That's me, alright, I thought, and reasoned within.  Actually, I was separated from the portrait, just as my body is separated from my soul.  My body, a temporal object, is what some identify as me.  It's
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The Sun by Bhaktimarga Swami

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The sun was beckoning to me in the second half of the afternoon.  It shone strong like a laser from the westerly direction.  It was directly blinding me, as I ambled along Bloor Street, and it created silhouettes of moving pedestrians, some who passed me to the right, some to the left.

I took to a park bench in Queen's Park, by the war memorial plaque, and sat there for five minutes.  Inscriptions on it indicated places where Canadian soldiers fell during the last century's two wars.  Italy wa
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Back in the Swing by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Back in the swing of things.  I'm walking on the streets to be nice to this body, a vehicle of honour.  With our bodies, we express ourselves best, or worst.  At best, we serve humanity, nature and the brains behind creation.  At worst, we self-serve and indulge in that which destroys us.  Take your pick.

I walked down Roxborough.  Two young men in a parked van gave me that look of curiosity.  They rolled down the window.  I thought they wanted to talk to me.  I wasn't sure so I stopped and to
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Air Canada Flight 43 came in for a smooth landing.  We couldn't even feel it when the wheels touched the runway.  After being picked up, we saw snow around all along the 401 Highway, but our driver, Jaya, said it's been a mild winter.  Both Corrado and I were struck by jet lag, as you can imagine after a long fourteen hours of soaring in the air.  Anyway, I would rather that, than break up the journey with a stop-over somewhere.

We reached the ashram.  The deities in the temple room looked bea
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4003208094?profile=RESIZE_710xAn accupressurist, who comes around to see me in Mayapura, is actually quite good.  He is a kind-hearted person; Bilvamangal, by name.  He came to my invitation last night, and I awoke this morning feeling like a new creature.  If only I could bring him back with me to Canada.... It's a dream.  He's very much anchored here.  He has a family. 

What felt like new legs (and knees) were not put to terrific use today.  With my second last day in Mayapura, many things needed wrapping up, and a major
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Our Premiere by Bhaktimarga Swami

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"Are you excited about your debut?"  asked one of the many attendees at the Mayapura retreat, referring to our first performance of "Grandsire".

"It's in good hands," I said, meaning that our cast has put in a lot of hard work to the best of their abilities.  Cronje—who is now Karuna Avatar (initiated name)—is the lead actor.  It's a big job for him—lots of lines to memorize and blocking to remember.  He's also involved in numerous martial arts scenes in this production.  He and the other play
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Things Going On by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I had a marvelous time at the Scarborough ISKCON Centre enjoying both the soup and the company.  This should not be mistaken for a soup kitchen, (even though at meal time, a soup extraordinaire is, in fact, on the menu), but a centre of spiritual power, where people come together to hear about themselves through the message of the Gita
 
The folks here are reading and discussing the Gita's Chapter 11 which resembles, in some way, a freak of nature.  Awesome images of multi-headed forms fill the
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Nice Couple by Bhaktimarga Swami

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For a third consecutive day, our Govinda's Restaurant was put to good use.  It catered two hundred guests at the YMCA on Thursday.  Last evening, we held an appreciation dinner for our drama troops of the January 1st  "The Gita” production.  That was nice.  And then today, I sat with members of the wedding party for Narayani and Kent, feasting like crazy after marrying them.  Govinda's keeps busy.
 
Now, about the wedding, held in the temple room—it was simple and sweet.  Narayani and her famil
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